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Meta Regulation for Access to Justice

Braithwaite, John
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) Presentation to General Aspects of Law (GALA) Seminar Series, University of California, Berkeley, 13 November. Downloaded 19 April 2004.

It is contended that access to justice cannot be secured simply by more progressive law — more legal aid, more public interest law. Max Weber provides the key to why as the quantity of law grows, law as an institution becomes more useful to those with institutional power and less accessible to the poor. In the conditions of late modernity, meta-regulatory strategies — regulation of regulation, regulation of law, regulation of access to justice initiatives — are the more productive paths to access to justice. The possibilities for meta-regulation strategies that move us toward restorative and responsive justice for the whole of law are considered. The key policy idea that renders such a strategy for retrieving access to justice feasible in a complex society is Christine Parker’s strategy of requiring large organizations to prepare access to justice plans. The centrality of this idea resides in the empirical claim that, in the conditions of late modernity, the more serious the injustice the more likely it is that a large organization will somewhere be a stakeholder in it. It is argued that large organizations are already on a trajectory of incipient versions of access to justice plans and NGOs are already on a trajectory of demanding them. Nudging these developments forward is therefore a social justice agenda worthy of our consideration. Author’s abstract.


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